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Trump’s desire for ‘classical’ architecture is consistent with authoritarian tastes: op-ed

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According to an draft executive order from the White House titled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” newly built or upgraded federal structures must now adhere to “the classical architectural style.” While not entirely specific, the directive that the style should reflect the infrastructure of “republican Rome.” But according to the American Institute of Architects, draft’s “uniform style mandate” is antithetical to democratic ideals. Washington DC’s urban planning director went so far as to call it “authoritarian.”

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Writing for Slate, Morgan Baskin agrees.

“For centuries, autocrats, authoritarians, and dictators have held a fascination with using architecture as a political tool to glorify their regimes, often while also dismissing modern architectural styles as lowbrow, cold, or weak,” Baskin writes. “The current crop of far-right world leaders with authoritarian impulses is no different—and that now appears to include President Donald Trump.”

While many admire classical and neoclassical designs, the admirers have overwhelmingly included authoritarians.

“Adolf Hitler notoriously held a fascination with classical architecture, as did other fascist leaders of his time,” she continues. “When totalitarianism flourished across Europe, so did “fascist architecture,” or the construction of new federal monuments and buildings in the same architectural style.”

According to Baskin, Trump’s presidency has sparked a resurgence of the far-right nationalism and “echoes of fascist architecture have found their way back again.”

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“But it’s not a shared insistence of classicism’s superiority that links the contemporary examples: Not every would-be authoritarian is obsessed with Grecian columns. What links them is how they want to use architecture to inspire a kind of superiority—of the leader over his predecessors, and of the state over others.”

Read Baskin’s full piece over at Slate.com.

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White House flack gets busted after claiming Trump ‘barely knows’ GOPer who took pardon offer to Assange

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White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed on Wednesday that President Donald Trump "barely knows" former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who has been linked to a possible pardon for Julian Assange.

At a pre-trial hearing earlier on Wednesday, Assange asserted that he had been offered a pardon in exchange for publicly denying that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 election campaign.

Rohrabacher admitted in 2017 that he had tried to broker a deal between Assange and the White House.

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WATCH: Fox News host grills WH spokesman on why Trump is ignoring Barr’s call to stop tweeting

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During an appearance on Fox News this Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley addressed reports of tension between President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr over comments Barr made suggesting that he's fed up with Trump's tweeting. According to Gidley, the relationship between the two is strong.

Gidley was then pressed by America's Newsroom anchor Ed Henry on reports that Barr is considering resigning over Trump's tweets about the Roger Stone case.

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‘Didn’t Trump want the death penalty for drug offenses?’: White House mocked for claim Blagojevich was freed to combat ‘aggressive sentencing’

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During an appearance on Fox News this Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley addressed President Trump's recent pardons and commutations, specifically the commutation of Rod Blagojevich, suggesting it was done in an effort to clamp down on "aggressive sentencing" by prosecutors.

"The fact is, the president is clearly against excessive sentencing," Gidley said. "Whether it's Rod Blagojevich or Alice Johnson, he's focused on making sure people who serve time in prison, who have rehabilitated, who show regret and show remorse, don't have to rot away in a jail cell their whole life."

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